Just transition planning for a managed wind-down of fossil fuels in BC

Dec 16, 2020
Resource development has long been central to BC’s economy. But commodity prices swing, industries consolidate and patterns of demand change over time. When they do, resource industry workers are often left holding the bag. The price is often much more than just involuntary unemployment for laid-off workers, but also includes mental illness, increases in domestic… View Article

New federal climate plan hindered by commitment to fossil fuel production

Dec 15, 2020
Five years after the negotiation of the Paris agreement, the federal government is finally starting to walk the talk on climate change. Canada’s updated climate action plan, released December 11, is the most serious piece of climate policy we’ve yet seen from this government. It comes alongside new measures announced by 70 other governments as… View Article

Healthy forests for a cooler future

Dec 14, 2020
There was every reason to believe in the early spring of this year that the most ambitious tree-planting program in British Columbia’s history would be scuttled by COVID-19. A record 310 million seedlings were slated to be planted. But with the unfolding pandemic, all bets were off. Only after tree-planting companies, First Nations, provincial health… View Article

Why now is the time to reform BC’s oil and gas royalties

Dec 8, 2020
The oil and gas royalty regime in British Columbia needs a major overhaul. The re-elected NDP promised during the election campaign to review oil and gas royalties and credits. In the context of a climate emergency the need for a managed wind-down is urgent. Despite “natural” gas being a finite greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuel, the royalty… View Article

BC should lead the country in adopting a COVID Zero strategy

Dec 7, 2020
The second COVID-19 wave is once again putting a spotlight on the challenges containing this deadly virus.  In the last week, BC set records for new cases and hospitalizations. Positivity rates are dangerously high, especially in the Fraser Health region. The number of deaths has been climbing and there are now over 50 long-term care… View Article

Who benefits from caribou decline?

Dec 4, 2020
Scientists predict caribou herds located in northeastern BC will go extinct within our lifetimes. How could this be? We were led to believe that environmental oversight introduced decades ago would protect this iconic Canadian species despite the large-scale industrial development that threatens them. We were promised a win-win: thriving caribou and a thriving economy. Fast… View Article

Who’s minding the shop at Site C?

Dec 1, 2020
Appointment of engineer with long-term ties to BC Hydro to be government’s “independent” advisor on dam’s construction raises vexing questions In 2011, his last year as a salaried employee at BC Hydro, Tim Little earned just under $210,000 as the Crown corporation’s chief engineer. The next year, after decades of service for the publicly owned… View Article

Towards a managed wind-down: the conversation we need to have

Nov 26, 2020
An enduring lesson from COVID-19 is that where there’s a will there’s a way. Faced with a pandemic, governments have risen to the challenge and made profound changes that would have seemed impossible mere months before. We now need to shift this out-of-the-box thinking to the existential threat posed by climate change. The need to… View Article

What federal leadership on long-term care standards should look like

Nov 24, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic second wave once again ravages long-term care homes in Canada, we must reckon with the obvious: it is time to set a higher standard for this care. The federal government promised as much in its throne speech, and we have taken this as an invitation to propose standards informed by the… View Article

Time to mobilize like we mean it

Nov 17, 2020
Lessons from the Second World War for the climate emergency Even before the arrival of COVID-19, the history of the Second World War was making a remarkable comeback. Our movie theatres (remember those?), Netflix offerings and bookstore shelves were full of modern reboots of our mid-century wartime experience. Then the global pandemic struck, and suddenly,… View Article

Alberta’s energy war room reveals its true colours as a propaganda mill

Nov 6, 2020
Last week my report “Reassessment of Need for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project” was published by the Parkland Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The Canadian Energy Centre (aka Premier Jason Kenney’s “War Room”) took exception to my report and wrote a hit piece designed to discredit it,“A Matter of Fact: CCPA report… View Article

TMX: What’s at stake?

Oct 29, 2020
New research from veteran earth scientist David Hughes concludes that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project (TMX) makes no financial sense. In fact, Alberta heavy oil producers can expect to lose money on every barrel of oil they produce and move through TMX. Contrary to claims that bringing heavy oil to tidewater for export to… View Article

Reality Check: Progress on child care in BC, 2012-2020

Oct 9, 2020
In the early days of the current BC election campaign child care took centre stage when NDP leader John Horgan recommitted his party to fully implement the $10aDay Plan1 if elected on October 24. Public discussion and commentary followed in the media and from other parties. Questions were raised about the progress achieved on child care… View Article
Aerial photo of two cars in a minor accident

Creeping privatization is not the fix to auto insurance in BC

Oct 8, 2020
As part of BC’s election campaign, the BC Liberal party pledged this week to move away from universal public auto insurance by opening up basic coverage to private insurance corporations. The claim made by party leader Andrew Wilkinson is that cheaper rates will follow from having private corporations sell insurance plans (using the old litigation-driven,… View Article

Losing sight at Site C

Oct 8, 2020
Court documents and FOI materials show BC Hydro knew shale would move at troubled construction project, yet Hydro proceeded with river diversion BC Hydro approved the pouring of massive amounts of concrete to build a buttress at its problem-plagued Site C dam project months before a critical drainage tunnel was completed to draw water away… View Article

Why a PST cut is a bad idea and directions for reform: A backgrounder on consumption taxation in BC

Oct 5, 2020
The BC Liberals have made a bold policy announcement that appears to be the centrepiece of their campaign: a one-year rollback of the 7% Provincial Sales Tax (PST), followed by  a reduction to 3% until the COVID-19 pandemic is over (although in reality there would be strong pressure to stay at the lower rate). This… View Article

Tax cuts won’t cure what ails us

Oct 2, 2020
Major tax cuts are on the table in BC’s election—namely, cuts to the provincial sales tax (PST) and speculation tax. But these proposals won’t help us meet the challenges the province faces. Whether the goal is economic stimulus, helping households in need or addressing long-term gaps in our social and physical infrastructure, tax cuts are… View Article

New federal sickness benefit falls short

Oct 1, 2020
Workers in Canada will have access to a federal paid sick leave benefit, but it doesn’t go far enough. The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit applies to people unable to work because they have or may have COVID-19 or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID. It also applies to people undergoing treatments, people with… View Article

For better or worse, it’s election time—let’s get on to the issues that matter

Sep 30, 2020
Since the provincial election was called last week, the focus of debate so far has been the timing. But like it or not, we’re headed to the polls in less than a month—and it’s time to shift gears to focus on the many urgent issues at stake. Top of that list of course is the… View Article

Vancouver’s Secured Rental Policy and the battle over density

Sep 28, 2020
In North American cities with growing populations and economies, a similar political story on housing affordability is playing out. Calls to permit more dense housing supply—also known as upzoning or changes to land use regulations to allow multi-unit buildings on “single-family” detached lots—pit older, wealthier homeowners against younger, less affluent, renters who feel shut out… View Article